Republicans Storm Closed Door Impeachment Hearing

By: Lisa McCray | October 23, 2019

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Cooper arrives to testify at deposition as part of Trump impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill in Washington REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Republicans stormed the House Intelligence Committee’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility on Wednesday as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper was due to testify at a closed-door deposition. Cooper’s testimony, which was delayed as a result of Wednesday’s actions but resumed later that afternoon, is part of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

It happened a day after William B. Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified for hours Tuesday that the Trump administration’s dealings with the Ukraine over promised aid for the embattled young country were “undermined by an irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making.”

Taylor is a respected government official who has served under every presidential administration since 1983, and his testimony seemed to help dismantle Trump and Republicans’ arguments that there was no quid quo pro in Trump’s dealings with the Ukraine.

“I said on September 9 in a message to Ambassador Gordon Sondland that withholding security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political campaign in the United States would be ‘crazy.’ I believed that then, and I still believe that,” he said in his opening statement.

Trump’s argument that he did nothing wrong has only weakened since a whistleblower brought the dealings to light last month.

In a piece called “Here’s the quid pro quo proof, Lindsay Graham,” the Washington Post’s editorial board wrote Monday that the depositions and documents House leaders have collected so far “contain clear proof that Mr. Trump, acting directly and through his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, repeatedly demanded a pledge from Mr. Zelensky to open those political investigations to obtain an Oval Office invitation. There is evidence that U.S. military aid was dependent on the probes, as well.”

Republican Matt Gaetz led Tuesday’s disruption, saying “If behind those doors, they intend to overturn the result of an American presidential election, we want to know what’s going on.”

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